PRINZ was offered Viscount Christopher Monckton as a speaker and our intention is to have him talk about the communications issues around climate change – given that this is a hotly debated topic that many laypeople are confused about.
Viscount Monckton is unquestionably an unusual character whose hereditary title and occasional extreme statements attract attention and criticism. But he does represent a point of view and, as an opinion-leading climate change skeptic, communicators should be interested in what he has to say.
Geoff Austin’s point of view on climate change communication is: “My concern about the present situation is not that we may or may not reasonably expect catastrophic global warming. It is that anyone who has the temerity to try to discuss the issue will be the recipient of ad hominem attacks designed to shut down the debate.”
Fuckin’ brilliant, that is.
People are confused about climate change so we want to just have the discussion about how to communicate it!
That confusion totally has nothing to do with the lying and manipulation and basic falsification of any kind of “lack of consensus” about climate change. It’s not caused at all by the very people PRINZ is hosting.
He’s just there to talk about “communications issues”, like the “ad hominem attacks” which dominate the debate!
Because the people who lie about being members of the House of Lords, who lie about being Nobel Prize winners, are definitely the people to talk about the ad hominem attacks in the debate … like when they accuse climate scientists of being liars and part of a global conspiracy to destroy capitalism and democracy and stuff.
Seriously, PRINZ. I’d be right there with you on a seminar about “the difficulties of communication complex scientific ideas to the public” or “the dangers of getting involved in arguments with completely dishonest opponents who will say and do anything to “win””.
But basically, like I said: this is why no one likes PR people. Because this “event” has every hallmark of Absolute Power-esque amoral spin doctoring which puts no limits on what can be done to protect the reputations of the rich and powerful: lying, deception, covering up even the most obvious, ridiculous buffoonery (can I mention lying about being a member of the House of Lords again?) by any means necessary.
And nothing establishes this more that the second paragraph up there: “he does represent a point of view”. So does [insert favourite villain here]. It’s basically the grown-up version of a commenter screaming “freedom of speech!!!” on a blog – as though all speech were equally valid and important, and made relevant and worthy of people’s time and attention by nothing more than the fact that it is speech, ergo you have to listen to it.
Great PR move, PRINZ. You’ve done your industry proud.
The rumour mill has it that Four Winds Communications, the actual sponsors of this event, represent clients including Gas NZ and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association. Any links to establish this would be most shiny.
Oh dear. “Lord” Christopher Monckton is in New Zealand to convince us all that climate change is a communist plot, or something (if no one makes a crack about Wellington’s coldest day on record “proving” “global warming” is a myth I will be amazed).
Annnnnnnd one of his “lectures” is being organised by the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand, and, according to an email sent to PRINZ members,* sponsored by Four Winds Communications, whose celebrated two-day workshop for junior PR practitioners must be fascinating.
The email states,
PRINZ Central Region has arranged for leading climate change skeptic, Lord Christopher Monckton, to address members at a special lunch-time event.
Don’t miss this thought-provoking presentation!!
One can only hope PRINZ actually mean for attendees to extract important PR lessons about not lying about being a member of the House of Lords/Nobel Prize winner for credence, and knowing what the heck you’re talking about before opening your gob, with a strong object lesson in how to make oneself look like a twit and the power of Google and blogs to expose one’s bullshit.
*Ew, I’m feeling a tad Cameron Slater-y.